Spicy BBQ Tandoori Chicken

The BBQ is the perfect place to cook a Tandoori Chicken unless you count a Tandoor, of course, take your fakeaway to the next level!

Tandoori Chicken legs on a chopping board

Spicy BBQ Tandoori Chicken.

The first thing you may notice about my tandoori chicken recipe is that it is not bright red. The simple truth is that the colour of tandoori chicken comes from colouring either food die or occasionally beetroot powder.

It adds no flavour or texture to the tandoori chicken whatsoever. Regular readers will know that I rarely… Ok never add anything to my dishes unless it adds flavour or texture.

As a result, the food die and beetroot powder are out. But despite the colour difference, this dish tastes full on Tandoori chicken!

I just don’t get why anyone would taste a dish and think, wow that tastes great but what it needs is to be red.

Hmmm, let me think, go fetch me the food die?

It really is lost on me however if you must and feel the need for red tandoori chicken then fill yer boots. It really will taste no different but if it makes you feel better.

In fact, a huge amount of Indian food makes, what I consider to be, dubious use of colour. For instance, a chicken pathia in the UK would often be the most vibrant red colour. And obviously tandoori orange or red.

Kachumber salad and tandoori chicken on a chopping board

Cooking Tandoori Chicken On The Barbecue.

This recipe is damn good so much so that my wife is now demanding this dish on a weekly basis.

I used to cook this in the oven and it was good but on the BBQ it really raises it up several notches.

Traditionally Tandoori dishes are cooked in a clay tandoor oven fired by wood or charcoal and can reach temperatures approaching 500°C.

Something I have been threatening to make at home for a long time but never quite got around to.

Now the BBQ can’t quite reach those temperatures but they are capable of reaching temperatures higher than most domestic ovens. I get mine up towards 340-350°C.

You also get that telltale char as well as a light smokey flavour that is so associated with a good tandoori chicken.

If you are a fan of tikka that you should consider using your grill in summer for that too. Chicken Tikka is essentially tandoori chicken off the bone.

I will make both my duck tikka masala and chicken tikka masala recipes largely on the grill over summer!

How to Butcher A Chicken.

This BBQ Tandoori Chicken recipe uses the whole bird. But, when it comes to the chicken, it is cheaper and better to grab yourself a whole bird and cut it up yourself.

It really is not that difficult as you can see from the video above.

It also means you get a nice variation of cuts of meat and typically a better quality bird. Chicken really is the most versatile meat. Whether it be chicken kofta meatballs, my zaatar chicken legs or even my petits pois a la Francaise. You can trust the humble chook to keep you going.

You also get a big bonus in the bits and pieces that are left over.

I use them to make chicken stock. Just roast it off the carcass with onion, carrot, celery and chuck it in the slow cooker with a bay leaf, a little salt and some peppercorns.

Then let that bad boy sit there for 4-8 hours, then bish bash bosh you have some glorious chicken stock.

A pile of chicken joints turned into tandoori chicken
BBQ Tandoori Chicken

BBQ Tandoori Chicken

Yield: 2-4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinade Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes

Cooking on the BBQ is so much more than Burgers and Sausages... This recipe takes a whole chicken and breaks it down to form the most incredibly glorious BBQ Tandoori Chicken. Nothing short of a Tandoor oven cooks tandoori chicken like the grill!


  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • Pinch of Chat Masala

For Marinade 1:

  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

For Marinade 2:

  • 100 g Plain Yoghurt
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Roughly chopped
  • 30 g Ginger, Peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin

For the Onion Salad:

  • 75 g Red Onion, Cut into quarters and finely sliced
  • 3 Plum Tomatoes, Deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Mint Sauce, I make my own mint sauce using sugar vinegar and lots of mint and a touch of salt but shop bought is fine

For the Raita

  • 150 g Plain Yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp Mint Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Honey
  • 100 g Cucumber, About a 5mm dice
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix together the ingredients for marinade 1 and place in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Place all of the ingredients for marinade 2 in to a small blender and blitz to for a paste.
  3. Add it to the chicken and first marinade and mix to cover and allow to sit for at least 4 hours, you can extend this 4 hour marinade to overnight if you wish.
  4. Mix together all of the ingredients for the onion salad and set aside.
  5. Mix together all of the ingredients for the raita and set aside.
  6. Get your grill really hot making sure you have both a direct and indirect heat zone.
  7. Begin with the cuts of chicken on the bone, so to begin with sear off the drumsticks and thighs so you have a good char on both sides and then transfer to the indirect heat zone and then close the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Then add repeat the process the with chicken wing parts, when charred move to the indirect heat area close the lid again and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  9. Now sear off the chicken breasts, moving to the indirect heat zone and close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 73°C.
  10. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving and sprinkle with a pinch of chat masala before serving.


Serve with a minty yogurt raita and some tomato and onion salad on the side.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 936 Total Fat: 44g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 26g Cholesterol: 271mg Sodium: 1634mg Carbohydrates: 40g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 26g Protein: 92g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Readers Comments

26 thoughts on “Spicy BBQ Tandoori Chicken”

  1. I love tandoori chicken and yours sounds amazing! Interesting about the red colour. I didn’t know that!

  2. I bet the flavor on this is incredible! I love bbq tandoori together– sooo good! I bet it would be a hit at a party.

  3. These spices sounds perfect for this dish! Full of flavor! And I love the use of yogurt! I’d love to try this instead of my usual chicken recipe I make! 🙂

  4. Hello! Red Velvet Cake anyone? I agree with you about added color. Color does influece taste perception … but still. Anyway, with chicken, I think the red is misplaced. Red is not a good color for chicken. Yours looks firely and delicious.

    • Cheers Jeff, I can honestly say I have never tried red velvet cake but in all fairness I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and rarely bake at home.

  5. I can’t believe how irresistable you can make chicken look! This sounds and looks perfect. I love the Indian flavors … mmmmmm!

  6. We haven’t used the grill much this summer but that’s definitely something I’m fixing with this recipe before it gets too cold to!

    • Cheers Paige… I love that salad, I can eat it by the bucket load, that some mint yoghurt and some poppadoms and I am set for an afternoon 😉

  7. Tandoori chicken looks absolutely fantastic, I love so many tandoori recipes. One of them is Tanddor Paneer , have you tried ?

    • Thanks Jagruti… I have to confess to not being a lover of Paneer, I find it has very little flavour and whilst that allows it to convey the flavours in a sauce or marinade I find it all a little meh.

    • Noooooooo, never tried tandoori chicken 😮 You must rectify that really soon, now let me think where can you get a recipe 😉 😀

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